Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Game day at Jim's

   On Saturday August 17 my good friend Jim Carol held his annual cookout and wargamer day.  It is a fun time with good friends, good food and good games.  Best of all we get to play in one of Jim's award winning WW1 games.

   The game this year saw a Russian vs German game. Both sides needed to capture a railroad station.  The Russians had lots of infantry but only a single artillery gun and one machine gun.  The Germans more machine guns, a field gun and a mortar.  This made a huge difference in the game.

   Both sides set up and advanced quickly with all the cavalry heading towards the station.  The infantry advanced and used as much cover as they could.  But then the artillery intervened.  The German artillery took out the single Russian gun right away.  By the second turn the artillery also took out the machine guns.

Here is the deadly German Artillery.

With no artillery support the gallant Russian infantry bravely charged forward!  We don't need guns, we have flags!

   The Germans cautiously advanced towards the Railroad covered by their artillery and machine guns.

   In the end while the Russians fought bravely they were no match for the German weaponry.

   Thank you Jim!  A fun time was had by all and I look forward to next year.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

MacKenzie Heights: The Battle

  Game set up. Russians to the right.  Cavalry is in the center riding through the village. One brigade of eight battalions to their right and another brigade of eight battalions to their left.  This brigade has massed their guns into a grand battery opposite the French.   The British are entering the field in the top left and French are entering on the bottom left.  The Russian commanders decided to concentrate against the French.  The cavalry, four battalions of infantry and one battery would hold the British.  On the Allied side there was no coordination but just a hardy handshake and a cheerful good luck.

Long line of Russian cavalry ride out of the farm towards the British.  Massed columns of infantry March out towards the French.

Russians regiments massed and advancing against the allied regiments.

The French advance onto the field with the Zouaves in front and the Line battalions to their rear. Artillery and cavalry are thrown out to protect the left flank.

Russian columns marching down on the French.  This is the first of two waves of infantry.

   The French prepare to receive the Russians. Two line battalions changed formation to double lines.

  The poor Zouave battalions are decimated by the Russian massed artillery.

  The first wave of Russians punch through the French line infantry.  A second wave threatens to out flank what is left of the Zouaves.

   The end of the colorful French Infantry.  Ground down by the Russian juggernaut.

  The French commander forgot about his cavalry.  The Russians ran up to the and destroyed them by musket fire.  A sad end to the beautiful French army.  But what if their allies?


The British Light Division March into the field in column and deploy into line.  Artillery, both line and horse anchor the flanks.

       Against them the Russians attacked with three cavalry regiments.  They hoped to hit the division as it deployed but were unsuccessful.

Coderington's brigade of the 7th, 23rd and 33rd Regiments formed into line and destroyed the Russian cavalry one regiment at a time.

  British firepower then silenced a battery on the hill.  With little opposite them the way into the farm looked open.  But by this time the French had been destroyed and the Russian player was turning the entire army against the  outnumbered British.  It was at this time the French and Russian players devieded to call the game and retire.

  So the battle ended.  Personally I would have liked it to have gone on for a couple more turns.  There was very little in front of the British who could have taken the hill and farm.  I think the French were devastated by their defeat and the Russians just happy to not face the British rifles and artillery. 

  All in all a good scenario and one which I am sure we will try again.  All players agreed it was a balanced game and all had great fun.  Perhaps we will see this one again!

Friday, August 16, 2019

100,000 visits to Blog!

  A milestone!  I have had over 100,000 hits on this blog.  Amazing! When I started this way back in August 2016 I did not expect too many responses.  After all how many people were interested in playing with toy soldiers. I was certainly wrong and over the three years of this blog's history have corresponded with many wonderful individuals who share this hobby.  It has opened my eyes to new and much better ways of doing things and I have learned a lot.

  I am especially please at all the individuals I have met here.  It is incredible that this blog has gotten me in contact with people around the country but especially in many countries around the world.  What a wonderful and delightful place is our hobby.

  Thank you all very much for taking the time to stop by and have a look.  You have all brightened my life and greatly added to the joy this hobby of ours has brought me. Thank you all very much.

   Now it's time to get back to packing up for tonight's game!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

MacKenzie Heights Battle:part 1

   At club game night I was planning on putting  on a Crimean War 1854 game.  I was wondering about the blogs looking at what other people have done for scenarios.  I was looking for ideas and suggestions.  I found just what I had been looking for on the blog "1866 and All That. " His Crimean game was a fun read and great battle report and I knew right away I could adapt it to my armies and table.  For my game I have retained the terrain and objectives but scaled down the regiments. If you are interested in the original battle please visit it here:
Thank you Mark for putting g on such a fun and exciting game and for allowing me to borrow your idea!

  Rules for the game are "Charge of The Light Brigade " by Davis Raybin.   All figures are 25mm.

Initial deployments were:
• Russians – within the yellow box
• French  - within the red box
• British – within the blue box

   The scenario was set quite soon after the battle of the Alma, while the Allied forces were setting up their bases on the southern shores of the peninsula and establishing siege lines in front of Sevastopol. In an attempt to drive the Allies back on their bases, or at least to delay the establishment of siege lines until more Russian forces could arrive, the Russian commander attacked across MacKenzie Heights.
   The Russians easily secured their primary objective, the MacKenzie farm that covered the heights, but success of the operation could only really be assured by the occupation of the hill south of the farm that dominates the road between the British and French bases. So victory conditions for the Russians were set as:
• Major victory – hold the hill with the road at the end of the game.
• Minor victory – hold the farm  at the end of the game
• Defeat –The farm is taken by the allies, regardless of any other objectives taken

Russian Army
16th Division (Kvetinski)
1st Brigade
Vladimirski Regt. (4 battalions)
Susdalski Regt. (4 battalions)
2nd Brigade
Uglitski Regt. (4 battalions)
Kazanski Regt. (4 battalions)
16th Artillery brigade (4 guns)

Cavalry Brigade:
Kievski Hussar Regt.
Ingermanlandski Regt.
Cossacks Regt.

The allied forces desperately needed to contain the Russians. The French and British commanders understand of the importance road and their primary objective is to secure it. Acting without communication of the each of them have scrambled together a force and despatched them to area. Their victory conditions are:
• Major Victory – compel the Russian force off the table to the north
• Victory – secure the road – Russians control the road if at the end of the game they have six or more unshaken units that occupy the road or can bring it under fire.
• Defeat – any result not shown above.

British Light Division (General Brown)
1st Brigade (Codrington)
7th Royal Fusiliers
23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers
33rd Duke of Wellington 's
2nd Brigade (Butler)
19th Yorkshire Regt.
77th Middlesex Regt.
88th Connaught Rangers
Royal Artillery
Heavy Cavalry Brigade (Scarlett)
Royal Horse Artillery

French Army
1st Brigade (Espinasse)
1st Zouaves Regt. (2 battalions)
7th Ligne (2battalions)
20th Ligne (2 battalions)
Artillery battery
1st Chasseurs d's Afrique

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Battle of Bladensburg

   I got a couple question about the header of my blog.  It is a bird's eye view of the Battle of Blandensburg 1814.  It was done by Gerry Embelton.  I really love these and they are inspirational to use for setting up a war game.

  While I have not (as yet) visited the battlefield here are some pictures of what you can see there today.

 Bridge where 85th Light Infantry regiment crossed.

  Monument where the Marines and Barney's sailors fought the British.

Sure historical marker.

Armies in Review: War of 1812 British cavalry and artillery

   To oppose my American Light Dragoons here are  Captain William Merritt and the first  troop of the Niagara Light Dragoons.   The regiment was raised in 1813 and saw much active service.  Captain William Merritt, who was born in upstate New York a son of a Queens Ranger loyalist. From 1813 he led his troop in defense of their homesteads  including at the action of Stoney Creek.  They were especially active in the skirmishes wars in 1813 against the renegade Colonel Wilcox and his Canadian volunteers.  Captain Merritt was captured at Lundy's  Lane in 1814, by "six skulking fellows" during the fighting in the darkness.  He was interned at Pittsfield Massachusetts for the rest of the war.

  19th Light Dragoons were  raised by Colonel Sir John Burgoyne (a cousin of General John Burgoyne of Saratoga fame) as the 23rd Regiment of Light Dragoons on 24 September 1781 for service in India. The regiment arrived at Fort St. George, Madras in 1782 and became the first British cavalry regiment to serve in India.  In 1786, the regiment was renumbered as the 19th Regiment of Light Dragoons.

  After long and varied service in India the 19th embarked for England on 20 October 1806, and remained in Britain until the outbreak of war with the United States in 1812.  They arrived in Quebec in May1814.  They were involved in the blockade and re-capture of Fort George, and the destruction of Black Rock and Buffalo in New York State. They also participated in Colonel Thomas Pearson's delaying action against Brigadier General Winfield Scott's brigade during the American invasion of 1814.  subsequently they fought at the Battle of Chippawa in July 1814, the Battle of Lundy's Lane later in the month and the Siege of Fort Erie in August 1814. Later they  pursued American raiders who had struck at Battle of Malcolm's Mills in November 1814. For these actions, the regiment earned the battle honour of "Niagara".

  Royal Artillery manning the guns.

   Come on, how can you do War of 1812 and not have a rocket battery!  It's down right unpatriotic!  Mine comes from Old Glory's Napoleonic line. In Canada they used the tripod rather then the smaller launcher.   I left out the Royal Horse Artillery crew (who might return if I ever do New Orleans)  and substituted Royal Marine Artillery crew who manned in Canada.  These men wore the same uniform as the Royal Artillery but with white, not yellow lace.  These figures are from Knuckleduster miniatures.  Especially love the officer looking up!

"Add once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department, " says Wernher von Braun. "

Monday, August 5, 2019

Armies in Review: War of 1812 British 3rd Brigade

   Lt. Col. Joseph Morrison 's 3rd Brigade is  made up of the 1st, 89th and 100th Regiments of Foot.  In addition here are the massed flank companies (Light and Grenadier companies) formed into a composite battalion.  Morrison was the British commander at the Battle of Crysler's Farm in 1814.

   My British army for the Niagara 1814 army is based on the Order of Battle for Lundy's Lane.  But since each brigade was made up of detachment or portions of regiments I have combined detachment to create full regiments to make them more player friendly.  In addition I have switched out some regiments (103rd) for one of my favorite regiments (41st).

   Light Infantry and Grenadier companies combined into a battalion.  I often split this into two commands to beef up the 1st and 3rd brigades.

  Combined flank companies to the front with the 100th Regiment of Foot behind. Note that all battalions in this brigade are wearing the belgic shako.

       The 1st and 89th Regiments of Foot

As is usual Regimental colors are from Flags of War while miniatures are from Knuckleduster.